My potato and leek soup recipe is a new take on an old classic. It’s hearty and easy to make. Delicious comfort food you’ll fall in love with and that you’ll get right the first time you try it.
How to make potato and leek soup
Leeks – Leeks are part of the allium family, which includes garlic, chives, onion, and shallots. They’re so versatile, having a slightly sweet, oniony flavor. Potato and leek soup is probably one of the more well-known combinations, but you can add leeks to any stew or soup to add depth and flavor. They also make a fantastic side dish by simply grilling them whole with salt and pepper.
Whenever you sauté leeks, here’s how to prepare them:
First, remove the dark green part (excellent for making vegetable stock) and cut off the roots on the bottom of the white part. You’ll be left with the white and light green parts. Cut a shallow slit lengthwise and remove the outermost layer. Then, cut the leek in half (lengthwise). Lay them cut side down on the chopping board and chop. For this recipe, chop them about 1/8” thick.
Put the chopped leeks in a colander and rinse in cold water. The white part of the leek grows mostly underground, so there might be some grit stuck in there that you definitely want to remove. Dry with a paper towel.
Potatoes – I use Yukon gold with the skin on. Because my recipe does not purée the ingredients at the end, a medium-starch, high-moisture potato like Yukon gold will get soft without losing its shape, which is the goal. I don’t recommend using all-purpose baking potatoes like Idaho or russet potatoes – with their high-starch and low-moisture content, they tend to become mealy. It’s okay if you use them to thicken a soup that you’re blending anyway before serving.
Stock – Whatever your preference is. Use your favorite vegetable or chicken stock. My everyday go-to product is Knorr bouillon cubes. They’re easy to store, very budget-friendly, and very tasty.
Herbs – Every good soup – well, any good dish – needs some herb love. You can never go wrong with adding dried bay leaves to a soup (or stew). In addition to a whole bay leaf or two, I like to add a handful of fresh thyme (dried thyme is fine, too) and fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley. Remember to remove the bay leaves before serving – they’re really tough to chew 😏
- Use extra-virgin olive oil instead of butter
- Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock
- Mix and match herbs. Adding sage is tasty too, or sometimes I simply add a tablespoon of Herbes de Provence.
Substitutions are ideas. Just because you don’t have an ingredient mentioned in a recipe doesn’t mean you can’t make it. The more you cook, the less you’ll follow a recipe. It’s like slowly removing the training wheels from your first bike. And suddenly you’ll say it out loud: “Wow, I just did that!” But not yet: “Look, mom, no hands”……
Endless. This dish is so incredibly versatile that I don’t even know where to start. Sometimes I’ll use my immersion blender and purée the whole thing. How about adding some sautéed mushrooms at the end, or a handful of fresh spinach leaves.
If you have some croutons, add them.
If you’ve just passed your yearly cholesterol test, you might as well add some heavy cream, bacon, and top it off with some Parmigiano Reggiano. I’m just saying…
In a large pan – I like to use my Dutch oven for this recipe – heat 4 Tbsp butter until it bubbles. Then add the chopped leeks.
Author’s confession: Sometimes I use bacon in this dish. I cook the bacon first in the Dutch oven and use the bacon fat mixed with some butter for the step above.
Season with 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes until the leeks get really soft and the edges begin to brown. This will partially caramelize the leeks and bring out their sweetness. Add garlic and stir for another couple of minutes. Taste before the next step.
Add 5 c liquid (I use 50% chicken stock and 50% water) and the herbs. Taste and see if you like the balance so far. Some stocks are saltier than others. Crank up the heat to bring it to a quick boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add 1 lb of thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes and let it simmer with the lid on for about 40 minutes. Stir a couple of times in between and wash the dishes in the meantime.
The soup is done when the potatoes are very tender and starting to fall apart. We might still have to add some more salt and pepper. Potatoes soak up some salt. Taste again. Season with salt until you achieve the desired yumminess. If you like, add a pinch of cayenne pepper, which really makes it pop.
Serve in a bowl, add a splash of heavy cream (if desired), and top with some fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley.
If you prefer a creamy consistency, use an immersion blender and blend everything together before serving.
Most soups are easy to store. They will stay good for either a couple of days in the fridge or up to two months in the freezer. If you decide to make some extra for later and plan to use heavy cream for this soup, hold off on the cream for the batch that’s going into the fridge or freezer. Also, make sure to let the soup cool before putting it in the refrigerator or freezer.
Do you love great comfort food? Check out a few more of our recipes now!
- Lasagne al Forno with Bolognese and Béchamel Sauce
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- Julia Child’s Beef Bourguignon recipe, simplified
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- Creamy Balsamic Chicken with Mushrooms and Fresh Parsley
- Red Wine Braised Short Ribs in a Dutch Oven
- How to Make Crab Cakes
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- Super Easy Sheet Pan Shrimp Boil
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Potato and Leek Soup – Potage Parmentier
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 4 leeks, trimmed and chopped to 1/8"
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
- 2-1/2 c chicken stock
- 2-1/2 c water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley (plus more for garnish)
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 lb Yukon potatoes, thinly sliced
- 1/4 c heavy cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pan, heat 4 Tbsp butter until it bubbles.
- Then add the chopped leeks. Season with 1/2 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Stir occasionally for about 10 minutes until the leeks get really soft and the edges begin to brown.
- Add garlic and stir for another couple of minutes. Taste before the next step.
- Add 5 c liquid (I use 50% chicken stock and 50% water) and the herbs. Taste and see if you like the balance so far. Some stocks are saltier than others.
- Crank up the heat to bring it to a quick boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add 1 lb of thinly sliced Yukon gold potatoes and let it simmer with the lid on for about 40 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- The soup is done when the potatoes are very tender and starting to fall apart. We might still have to add some more salt and pepper. Potatoes soak up some salt. Taste again. Season with salt until you achieve the desired yumminess. If you like, add a pinch of cayenne pepper, which really makes it pop.
- Serve in a bowl, add a splash of heavy cream (if desired), and top with some fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley.
- If you prefer a creamy consistency, use an immersion blender and blend everything together before serving.
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